tv Lisa Monaco Discusses National Security CSPAN December 10, 2016 12:12am-1:13am EST
making sure that this reflected the needs of our -- of our states. i personally fought for critical provisions in this bill important to washington state, making sure our colombian basin basin -- columnian basin descendants have an opportunity to give their loved ones a final resting place. i thank my colleague for putting that in this bill. and our ports in the global maritime economy and making sure our work force is strong. i'm proud that it addresses the needs of flint, michigan. and i see my colleagues from michigan here tonight. communities that have been dealing with lead in their drinking water. so this was a good bill. it was a good bill. but as you have heard, at the last minute, a poison pill rider concerning california water management in the face of a long-running drought turned on another bipartisan bill into a very, as you have heard, contentious, divisive bill.
and it is a bill that is especially problematic for our west coast states. i want to thank my colleague from washington, senator cantwell, who has fought diligently, worked hard to get us to where we are and now has had to turn against this bill because she knows the long-term consequences of this. this was a provision that was added very late. there were no hearings. there was no agreement. it wasn't included in either the house or the senate investigators of this bill. and then there was this backroom deal that set new precedent and undermined the endangered species act. it reduces congressional overnight of water projects in our western states and could harm our commercial, our recreational and tribal salmon fisheries along the entire west coast. environmental and conservation groups and west coast fishing industries are very opposed to this last-minute backroom deal, and i wanted to be here tonight to stand with my colleagues from the west coast and i will vote against this bill tonight
because of this inclusion of this last-minute rider, and i urge our colleagues to stand with us as well. thank you, madam president, and i yield the floor. the presiding officer: who yields time? mrs. boxer: i would just retain the balance of my time. the presiding officer: who yields time? mr. inhofe: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. inhofe: madam president, i have listened to every word of the -- of the other side. i have a respect for them and their thoughts. i don't agree with them, but i want to share a couple of things with the senate. first of all, people need to understand what we went through on this bill. that was two years of work. it's been a long, involved time for all of us.
particularly we had my -- mr. jackson, mr. pergot, susan boudine. these are experts in different areas. she is the water expert. charles brittenham has been crucial to this becoming law. he knows that end of it. the core operations, charles brittenham knows more about the core operations, worked tirelessly. these guys worked and gals worked several hours on this ink many, many, many weeks. byron brown negotiated the coal ash. the coal ash issue is a huge issue much the states have been wanting this for a long period of time. it was a compromise and everyone was happy with t i want to thank yejenny wright, andrew nealy, andrew harding, carter, joe brown, and from senator boxer's
staff -- i don't think we could have gotten this done without the long hours of jason a albrit on and others from her staff like t.e.d. alston. and the c.b.o. staff came in and woshed very hard on this. araiaurora swanson was always available. so we have a lot of people who have been involved in this. i don't think people want to think this is just another bill that came along and it is time for it to be considered. we could have this a long time ago. we weren't quite ready. it took the time for all of us to get together. i think it is important. you heard others talk about one major provision in the bill. i do want to address that in a minute. but if you stop and think about what is in this thipg, we have 30 new navigation, flood control, environmental restoration projects. it modifies eight existing
projects, basic reports submitted to congress by the secretary of the army. these projects support our nation's economic competitiv competitiveness and well-being by deepening nationally significant ports. n. you around here -- you around here know which ones we're talking about. ecorestoration in the florida everglades which will fix lake okeechobee and stop the algae blooms. flood control in the hameton area in california and in arizona. includes programs that will help small and disadvantaged communities. helps drinking water emergencies like the one facing the city of flint, michigan. the bill includes -- remember the gold king mine. the people in california,
certainly senators, gardner, bennet -- it's in this bill. the bill includes rehabilitation of high-hazard potential dams. a section of the bill authorizes fema assistance to states to rehabilitate the unsafe dams. and there are -- this is something. there are 14,724 what they call high-hazard potential dams in the united states. that means that if a dam fails, lives are at stake. the program will prevent loss of lives. you know, we've talked about this on the floor. that's a significant thing. 14,726. and i just think it's -- you know, the wrda bill is bipartisan. it will play a critical role in addressing problems faced in the communities. let me repeat some of these. i want to make sure everybody understands how long we've been talking about the flint, michigan, tragedy -- for a long time. ness here.
the -- it's in here. the solution here. the bill we just passed, that's an appropriation. but the authorization has to be there. and i would say this -- since i am looking across to the two senators from michigan, i know they're concerned with this, that we have to understand that if -- without this authorization, this bill, there will be no flint relief, none whatsoever. and i would ask -- i would go ahead and yield some time to either of the two senators, senator stabenow from michigan, for any comments they would to make about this. but i hope you understand, as i yield you the time that you will be requesting, that without this bill, there's nothing for flint. ms. stabenow: madam president? the presiding officer: is not frr michigan. ms. stabenow: thank you very much. first, i do want to thank the chairman of e.p.w. for his very, very hard work on our behalf and the 100,000 people in the city
of flint and his incredible staff, all of the staff that have been involved in this and for -- i'd ask unanimous consent that i be able to give you a list of all of the staff. i want to make sure they're in the record so we can properly thank all of them. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. stabenow: this is a very, on the one hand, very important time where we finally are saying to people that we have been fighting for for over a year. we see you, we hear you, and we're going to be able to get something done so you can turn the faucet on and actually have clean, safe water come out of the faux sext we all that i can for -- out of the faucet. we all take that for granted. i have to say it's all bittersweet, though, when i look to my colleague, senator boxer and senator cantwell who have spent more time certainly than anyone else that i have worked with, other than working with sthor inhofe and his -- senator inhofe and his staff to work hard to help us get to this
point and to find us in a situation because of what the house did. where we can't all be unified. it is something i feel very sad about and regret deeply. senator murkowski and senator cantwell were very instrumental in spending hours and hours early on in the year trying to get something done as it related to the energy bill, and i regret that the energy bill is not part of what's being done by the end of this year. the democratic leader, the majority leader, certainly senator peters and i have been fighting together for a year and beyond in terms of what the people of flint need. but i want to say just one thing to really focus on this. there are many needs, there are many issues, but there are people literally whose health is permanently damaged -- 9,000 children under the age of six
who have been so exposed to lead that they may not have the opportunity to have a healthy, full life where they can focus in the future, as they otherwise would, because of developmental concerns. so we have people that are in a crisis situation. this bill needs to get passed for them. they have waited and waited while other things have been done the entire year. it's time for them to stop having to wait. this is the opportunity for us to actually take an entire city -- no place else in the country is there an entire city that has not been able to use their water system because of fear of lead poisoning. that's what's happening in this community, and this bill authorizes funding to be able to fix that and give them the
dignity that we all take for granted of safe drinking water. thank you. mr. inhofe: thank you. reclaiming my time, let me just say that i saw the other senator from michigan nodding with approval and agreement. so, yeah, this is the shot we've got. this can happen. and that's why it's in here. the and i have to say that the senator from -- both senators from michigan and we on this side worked very closely together to make this happen. and that wasn't really easy. but now there's an agreement on what we have come to and i think that's a very important part of this. let me mention one of the things that the senator from oregon made some comments about, senator boxer, and me and the things that we've done together. and we have. it does shoarks show, though -- it does show, though, that we can disagree. that doesn't change my feelings about senator boxer. i want to conclude by saying
something that i don't think people have heard. you know, they talk about the drought provision as if something evil put it together. well, it was the white house that put that together. it was drafted by the u.s. department of interior and the u.s. department of commerce. the savings clause -- they've talked about the savings clause. the savings clause prohibits, according to the white house -- the savings clause prohibits any federal agency under any administration from taking any action that would violate any environmental law, including the endangered species law and the biological opinions. and don't take my word for it. just ask senator feinstein. we talked about this on the floor. so this was put together by those departments, and the savings clause that are there are strong. and according to them -- not to me, i actually don't know that much about it, but they do, because this is their area of specialty. they say that this provision
prevents any type of action. with that, i will reserve the balance of my time. mrs. boxer: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from kaferl. mrs. boxer: i love my colleague. however, the white house strongly opposes this rider, and we have it in clear writing. they issued that notice. they didn't issue a veto because, as senator stabenow points out, they're torn. but let's be clear. all we have to do is strip this poison pill and we got a gorgeous bill that saves flint that helps us all, we can smile and i can leave here with a really nice lift in my step rather than leaving here sad that we're threatening a magnificent historical industry called the fishing industry,
where people go out and work for their families on little boats -- some of them big boats -- and so what we're saying is we have no choice, we have to swallow this poison pill, and thank god, help the people of flint. thank the lord god, we should have done that a long time ago. o my lord, thank you, jim inhofe, for your work on that. thank you. and debbie, gary and all the staff. but now we have a circumstance where we are saying yes to that and no to our entire industry on the entire west coast. and every single editorial in california, where as my friend points out, the underlying bill, i've never gotten as much for california. i almost don't want to say it. it's 26 provisions, everything from lake tahoe to the salton
sea, to the sacramento river, to the san francisco bay, to orange county, the inland empire, republican parts of my state, democratic parts of my state, amazing work that was done. and yet, as we pass this which we may because of the situation, i want everyone here to understand that there are people who are shivering and shaking because they know the water they need to support their livelihood is going to be diverted away. this isn't a drought provision. this is taking water from one group that desperately needs it to sustain their business, the montana fish rirks and -- the salmon fish rirks and gig it to big a.g. we need it come tosmght represent all those interests, including urban users and rural
users. and suburban users. and farmers and the fishery. and as my friend, maria cantwell pointed out when she had a voice this afternoon, she said, you know, can you really think about the long-range issue here, which is, if you drive out the salmon fishermen, they're gone. and then all the water can be taken away. and they won't be there. it's so sad to do such a thing, without a hearing, without a hearing. and, by the way, you can say anything -- you could say you're saving anything. you could say it. it doesn't mean i.t. true. so let me say for the court record, because this is going to go to a lawsuit immediately, if you're listening and you're reading this, you can say
anything. if you send a bomb over to another country and bomb the heck out of them and they say, wait a minute, this is an act of war, you could say, no, it isn't. we said it wasn't an act of war. we're just trying to toac -- toh you a lesson. you can say anything. whats you do that matters. it's what you do that matters. and when you have operation language that says you must move so much water, the maximum water, even though the biological opinion says that that will destroy the fishery, this is a real problem. so i would reserve the balance of my time. mr. inhofe: may i inquiry as to how much time is remaining? the presiding officer: the sno from oklahoma -- the senator from oklahoma has nine minutes. the senator from california has two and a half. mr. inhofe: well, i just consulted with my staff because i thought -- i really question
-- i know you beleaguered or you wouldn't have said it. but the administration cannot be opposed to this. as a matter of fact, the administration drafted this. everyone likes the underlying bill before the change was made. but then the department of -- i'll repeat this section 4012 includes a savings clause, a savings clause written by the u.s. department of interior and commerce. that's the white house. that ensures that the entire subtitle must be implemented in accordance with the endangered species act or the smelt and salmon biological opinions. so i would just say that and respond for a response from that, but they're the ones who drafted it. here is a bill that everybody talked about. you, my friend from california and myself included, more than half the people. and then when that provision was put in by those two departments, all of a sudden it's a bad bill.
and that's what i don't understand, that's what i don't agree with. they are very emphatic in their paper that they wrote with their opinions putting this provision in. mrs. boxer: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from california. mrs. boxer: i did not say this is a bad bill. i said this is a beautiful bill with a bad rider, dropped, dropped on us. this is what i was talking about, the bill that was placed on top of wrda. it's awful. and the white house said -- quote -- "we do not support the kinds of proposals that have been put forward to address the water resources issues in california right now." and i ask unanimous consent to place that in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. boxer: and i have to tell you, for every major newspaper in my state to come out, i don't think we ought to argue about this. you know what? because it's a california issue, it's a west coast issue. and if it doesn't bother you, fine, but the bottom line is a beautiful bill was hijacked and is going to result in the loss of the fishing industry, and i
can assure my friend if you had a proposal and you have had some that threatens your oil industry, well, you're down here. and i say fine, that's your job. it's my job to defend my fishing industry. and so there's nothing that anyone could tell me that changed my mind, even though this puts me in a tough, tough, tough spot. because the rest of the bill is beautiful. and i greatly enjoyed working on it. but i know this stuff, because every single fishery organization opposes it. it is opposed strongly. even trout unlimited. you know those folks. they don't get involved that often. and every single major newspaper opposes it. every single environmental organization. and the white house says we do not support the kinds of proposals that have been put forward to address some of the water resources issues. those are the facts.
they're not subject to interpretation. so let's be fair here. we have a beautiful bill called wrda, and standing on its own, it's one of my proudest accomplishments that i share with my chairman. but this rider did not belong in it. our position is bring this bill down, strip the rider, you'll have flint, you'll have the bill, and we can all go home happily. now, i know that's a very heavy lift, but that's the rationale, and i hope when this thing gets to court -- and it will get to court -- that our words will be entered into the court record here because we know what we're talking about, because we're from the west coast. the presiding officer: the senator's time has expired. mrs. boxer: all right. mr. inhofe: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. inhofe: i'm about to yield back my time, except to make one
last comment. that is everyone agrees it was a beautiful bill, and they talk about the rider, and the rider came not from someone else. it came from the department of commerce and the department of the interior. that is the administration. so they're the ones, i guess, that made it into a bad bill. nonetheless, it is a good bill, it's one that we all want. i encourage my colleagues to support it, and i yield back the balance of my time. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the motion to invoke cloture. the clerk: cloture motion. we, the undersigned senators, in in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate, do hereby move to bring to a close debate to concur in the house amendment to calendar number 65, s. 612, an act to designate the federal building and united states courthouse located at 1,300 victoria street in laredo, texas, and so forth, signed by
17 senators. the presiding officer: by unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum call has been waived. the question is, is it the sense of the senate that debate on the motion to concur in the house amendment to s. 612 shall be brought to a close. the yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
the presiding officer: the senate will be in order. on this vote, the yeas are 69, the nays are 30. three-fifths not-for-profit three-fifths of the senators having voted in the affirmative, the motion is agreed to. the senate will be in order. the motion to refer falls. under the previous order, all postcloture time is expired. the motion to concur with an amendment is withdrawn, and the question occurs on the motion to